We played a big part in the
response to Hurricane Sandy. We
were tasked a couple days after it hit
and rounded up our crews to get up
to New Jersey and help out the civilians. We loaded up our boats onto
the [dock landing ship] USS Carter
Hall and headed up there.
Off the coast, they craned us off
the side and we headed inland and
met up with some Coast Guard.
We were surveying the rivers,
using sonar technology to see if
there was anything down there that
needed to be pulled up. The place
was beat up pretty bad.
As a Riverine, you definitely
have to be strong-minded. You have
to be physically fit and you have to
be pretty smart. The guys have to
be able to trust you. The younger
guys coming in look up to you so
you have to be on top of your game
all of the time.
A lot of things change. Your
route might change. You always
have to have a contingency plan.
It’s a thinking man’s game. You
always have to be thinking about
what will happen next or, if it
doesn’t happen, how you plan [for]
it. You always have to have an
option, a way out or how to do
something. It’s never scripted. You
can never get the weather right. It
is either too cold or hot. You’ve got
to make sure those guys are quick
on their feet in any weather.
Being out on the water, when
you train in sections and every-
thing comes together, it’s just a
beautiful thing. All that hard work
and all that stress just kind of goes
away once you see the whole plan
I love the Riverine community.
It’s just different. It’s challenging. It’s
never the same. … It is a whole lot
of fun. There are a lot of good people
in the community. We do a whole
lot of — for lack of a better word —
Editor’s Note: Gidharry is an honorary
Game Warden, an honor bestowed by the
Game Warden Association, a group of veterans who served on river patrol boats during the Vietnam War and who occasionally
provide lessons learned from their service
to the coastal Riverine community.
of four months, so they can come
over here and at any point after that
they can be relieved or replaced.
There is a constant churn of people
within the crew. We always have
new folks. We are always kind of
retaining some of the same lessons
learned and that’s also a constant
challenge with what we are currently faced.
I enjoy a lot about being the
commanding officer, but what I
enjoy most, I think, is the people
and the problem-solving. I like the
challenge of there always something different being put in front of
you. I like trying to figure a way
through that, with help from others, and I personally enjoy the
challenge in how to get to the next
thing. That’s what personally motivates me.
What I enjoy other than that is
working with the other individuals
and building a team to get a problem solved. Our Sailors are pretty
innovative folks, and you kind of
pull them together and get them
focused on a specific thing. You
will be kind of surprised at what
they produce and that’s always
rewarding for me.
What’s surprised me most about
my time in the Navy is how long I
have been in. I grew up in a small
town, farming community, and the
Navy offered me an opportunity to
see something beyond that. With
those two options — staying in a
small town or seeing the world —
staring me in the face in 1983, I
decided to enlist in boot camp as a
data systems analyst in San Diego.
I have had several different tours
— on ships, at air stations, in the
classroom and in an office — but
one, specifically, helped me in my
In June of 2009, I took over as
commanding officer of the USS
Kauffman, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate. There I had a junior
crew, and we had a lot of hurdles to
get past to complete a lot of our
missions. But there I learned it’s
not about the pay grade of the
Sailor or the patch on their sleeve,
it’s about their capability.
I think the main thing being in
the Navy has taught me is patience.
I am a lot more open-minded now
than when I first joined, and I am a
lot more receptive to others’ opinions or ideas on things. I think that
makes me a better person and
allows me to allow others to come
up to their own solutions to
problems that I give them.
PROFILES IN SERVICE
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 18 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
CAPT Dale W. Maxey
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